Monday, October 24, 2011

Georges Bizet (October 25, 1838)

Was Bizet Jewish? No. His wife and some of his collaborators, yes. About Bizet, however: "Many have claimed Georges Bizet himself was Jewish. Much has been made of his dramatic use of the augmented second — a melodic interval typical in Jewish music, but not so prominent in classical music — in this opera’s [Carmen's] ever-present motif for Fate. His ancestors may or may not have been converts, but the composer himself was baptized at the age of 2. Still, his attitude towards Christianity was far from respectful. As a student at the Conservatoire assigned to write a Mass, he submitted a short comic opera instead. When reprimanded, he offered to write a pagan service as a compromise. After Wagner published the odious essay 'Jews in Music,' he defended Wagner as a composer but dissociated himself from the antisemitic baggage. Many of Bizet’s collaborators were Jewish, and his wife was half-Jewish." *

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